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Tiger Woods Earns 83 Times More Money Endorsing Things Than Playing Golf

Plus other athletes' income stats

Woods makes $50 million from deals with Nike, Rolex and Upper Deck. Photo: Getty Images

The sprinter Usain Bolt has earned $15,000 in race winnings over the last year but $21 million in sponsorships. Nascar star Jimmie Johnson, on the other hand, pulled in $16.2 million in winnings but a mere $6.5 million in endorsements.

And the Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who might be the world's highest-earning athlete, makes $52 million in salary each year plus another $27 million from sponsors.

With Wimbledon underway, and with an eye on its record-setting £1.88 million purse—that's just shy of $3 million—for the men's singles winner, the British betting site Lottoland, which also publishes editorial content, took a look at the paychecks for the world's best-paid sports stars and broke down how much they earn for their jobs versus how much they earn for endorsing products.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest imbalance comes for huge stars in individual sports where there are no salaries but only purses on one hand, plus enormous endorsement deals on the other. In addition to Bolt, golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and tennis stars Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova all see their winnings dwarfed by their sponsorship deals. Most dramatically, Woods earned only $600,000 for playing golf in the period covered—from June 1, 2014, through June 1, 2015, per Forbes data—and $50 million from deals with Nike, Rolex and Upper Deck.

For salaried team-sports stars, sponsor income often doesn't match generous team paychecks. Eli Manning, for example, earns $15.7 million each year from the New York Giants and only $8 million from his sponsors. His brother Peyton earns $15 million from the Denver Broncos and $12 from sponsors.

Lottoland also lists the main sponsors for each of these top-earning athletes. High-end Rolex sponsors only two golfers and a tennis player (Woods, Federer and Jordan Spieth). New England-based Dunkin' Donuts sponsors football star Eli Manning. Wrangler wrangles New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. And Nike sponsors most of the list.

And why is Lottoland writing about this? "For a lot of people the amount of money earned by elite sports stars is something you could only dream about or, with a little bit of luck, win in the lottery," Dan Hawkins, a rep for the site, said by email.

Lottoland's interesting—and, they hope, scratchoff-inducing—list is below.

 

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